How about some more David Bote love to give you some warm fuzzies today as you await the Cubs’ second game in Pittsburgh?
First, Theo Epstein spoke at length about not only what a huge moment the walk-off grand slam was for the organization as a whole, but also what a special story his development has been:
— 670 The Score (@670TheScore) August 17, 2018
I especially enjoyed Epstein’s description of how they worked with Bote to change his swing: “His launch angle, he was hitting the ball into the ground. Not everyone can make an adjustment to change their swing plane to take advantage of their exit velo and get the ball in the air, but it was something with Bote where we felt he had been such a good learner and taken on everything that was asked of him in his development path and there was nothing to lose with him, so at the All-Star break last year, they approached him and he was a quick study and really amenable and made almost an instantaneous swing change with great results.”
Epstein said that it took only a couple weeks for the Cubs to realize some very good things were happening, and Bote was going to need to be protected on the 40-man roster (this was just months after he was largely considered a non-prospect outside of the organization), then go to the Arizona Fall League, and on and on.
That’s why there’s probably more optimism associated with Bote than your typical month-long pop-up youngster having outsized results in the big leagues. With Bote, the defensive ability and versatility were always there, so that’s “real.” With the bat, the ability to rip the ball was also there, but he wasn’t able to take advantage of that ability consistently enough because he didn’t have natural loft in his swing. And, as Epstein says, you can make that tweak for *some* players (fly ball revolution), and when it’s a guy who hits the ball like Bote, that really can fundamentally change the projected arc for a player. In other words, it’s the kind of change that can make you very quickly believe that the bat is also “real.”
I think it is not absolutely insane to consider the possibility that Bote could be a starting-caliber player heading into next season, and to incorporate that possibility into the offseason planning. I’m just sayin’.
Meanwhile, even though we’re just five days removed from his grand moment, there’s already an oral history of Bote’s walk-off, pinch-hit, grand slam, and it’s freaking delightful:
Why wait a year? Why not 5 days later: An Instant Oral history of David Bote's epic walk-off grand slam https://t.co/FV9VG8xxYX
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) August 17, 2018
There are so many awesome quotes in there – and everyone on the Cubs seems to think they called that shot – but the funniest one that jumped out at me was not directly about Bote. This is from Albert Almora, who was on base at the time: “So I hit third base and Javy was right in my face and I remember jumping up and down. I didn’t know if there was a rule I couldn’t touch other players, so I was like avoiding him. When I got to home plate, there was a lot going on.”
Haha. That’s wonderful. The whole thing remains just so very wonderful. I will never get tired of enjoying that moment.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 13, 2018